Friday, November 26, 2010


Thanksgiving: we had turkey, of course. And mashed potatoes and green beans. And pie - LOTS of pie! But best of all, according to Jamesy, was the stuffing, which he consumed by the metric ton - but absolutely not until he had his fork.


When praised for his expert use of silverware, he responded by giving me a high five.


Later, I asked him if he was all done, signing appropriately; he answered me by shaking his head "no" and signing "more more more".


Even later, while watching him color very intently, I said, to the back of his head, "Mommy loves you", in response to which he came over, put his arms in the air, said "uh" until I lifted him into my lap, where he bear-hugged me repeatedly, putting my hands back around him whenever I stopped.


While changing his diaper, I began teaching him the sign for "potty", folding his fingers over and moving his hand for him. When I stopped, he grabbed my hand and placed it over his to put his fingers in position again, and we repeated this several times to his obvious smiling delight.


When he tired of this, we simply sat for a time on the couch, and I jokingly counted his toes, an old trick of which he never tires - particularly when I reach "FIVE!!" and tickle him. After several rounds of confirming his toe count, he interrupted me by grabbing MY toes, and bending over to push his face against my foot. Well, that's an odd one, I thought. So it took me a few moments, but then I finally realized: I was getting my first Jamesy kiss.


Now he is in his crib, playing with his musical toys, happily babbling with lots of "ma ma ma"s and "da da da"s mixed in.


It has been a helluva day.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


What we have here, folks, is a lack of progress.

Ok, maybe that's not entirely fair. We have continued, if incremental, improvements in eye contact, in ability to stay focused on a task, in ability to be redirected when James loses interest in whatever. We continue to have a wonderful giggle and a great penchant for smooches and hugs. All of these are wonderful, make no mistake.

What we DON'T have is talking.

In fact, we seem to be losing ground.

We still have "uh" for "up" (with arm gesture, of course), and "ba" for bottle and "ma ma ma" for "mama" and "mmmmmm" for "more" and "milk" and possibly also "moo" and "me". We very occasionally have "Da".

And that's it.

We have babble, but it seems less frequent to me. Our Speech Therapist is not worried, because when he DOES babble, it seems to be more purposeful - we both hear the cadence of language, like when little kids imitate French or Italian, even if we are not hearing words.

But other than that, we seem to be stagnating on a vast windless sea of speech, with nothing to interrupt the long monotony of the verbal horizon. (Gee, that was pretty. I'd edit it for being overblown but, hey, it's my blog and I like it.)

I am... dispirited.

I know this is a lifelong process, and I know our good fortune in having a kid who - if he has to be on the spectrum - is so affable and flexible is more good fortune than many (most?) who are dealing with this crap. So wishing that the bright shiny honeymoon feel of the beginnings of therapy, when breakthroughs seemed imminent each time someone came to work with him, seems ungrateful to me, unmindful of the good we DO have.

But I know I'm not. In fact, it's impossible to be, when you are greeted each morning by those crazy dimples and big turquoise eyes full of mischief. How can you not love the chance to be this kid's mom?

But - as his mom - how can I not also wish that things were different for him, that he could tell me all about what he sees and likes and wants and dreams? I don't wish he wasn't autistic, necessarily. That would be swell, don't get me wrong. But if he could stay exactly the Jamesy he is, only be able to TELL me about it... well, that... that would be something wonderful.

Something MORE wonderful.

Doldrums or not, he's still pretty damn wonderful as it is.